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US hints at more troops to Afghanistan -

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ELEANOR HALL: To the United States now where there are predictions that the US administration is
about to announce that even more troops will be sent to Afghanistan.

The White House is rejecting suggestions that the situation there is reaching crisis point. But the
US national security advisor, General Jim Jones, won't rule out the option of sending more American
troops.

And the pressure is also on America's allies, including Australia, to do more, as North America
correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR: The White House is waiting for an assessment from its top commander in Afghanistan
General Stanley McChrystal, before making its next move. But most are expecting extra troops to be
part of the strategy.

General Jim Jones is the White House's national security advisor.

JIM JONES: We have over 40 nations on the ground, we have all of the international organisations
you could want, from the UN to NATO, the EU, the World Bank, IMF and nongovernmental organisations
and Afghanistan will be solved by a better coordination of these elements. The troops strength is
an important piece of it.

LISA MILLAR: Republican Lindsey Graham who sits on the Senate's armed services committee says he'll
be stunned if there isn't a request for more troops. And he's urging this Democratic White House to
avoid the mistakes made by a previous defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

LINDSEY GRAHAM: If Afghanistan becomes a chaotic situation it affects Pakistan. So we're going to
need more of everything. My message to my Democratic colleagues is that we made mistakes in Iraq.
Let's not "Rumsfeld" Afghanistan. Let's don't do this thing on the cheap. Let's have enough combat
power and engagement across the board to make sure we're successful and quite frankly we've got a
lot of ground to make up.

LISA MILLAR: The US is convinced it's struck a blow against Taliban forces in the last few days,
killing the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. His followers claim he's still alive and
didn't die in a US missile strike.

General Jones has described his death as a "big deal".

JIM JONES: Mehsud was a very bad individual. A real thug, responsible for a lot of violence, a lot
of innocent people losing their lives and I think that if there's dissension in the ranks and that
if in fact he is, as we think, dead, this is a positive indication that in Pakistan things are
turning for the better.

LISA MILLAR: He says Baitullah Mehsud was the public enemy Number One in Pakistan. General Jones
says there's more intelligence sharing between the US and Pakistan, and both are working more
closely together on Afghanistan as well.

The US is sending in an extra 21,000 troops into Afghanistan to combat the Taliban and General
Jones says the White House can't rule out having to send even more. But he's making it clear
America isn't in this on its own.

JIM JONES: And I wanna make sure that I make this point as well. This is not just a US problem.
This is an international problem and we cannot. I think we have the strategy and we will shortly
see, and I mean within a year, whether this strategy is working and then we'll adjust from there.

LISA MILLAR: Australia has already increased its troop numbers this year. The chairman of the armed
services committee Senator Carl Levin says he doesn't want the US committing more troops because it
takes the pressure off America's allies.

CARL LEVIN: A number of countries have taken very hard hits, losses of troops but a lot of the
other NATO allies have fallen short of their commitments and we're going to put maximum pressure on
them to do what they promised to do in terms of providing trainers for the Afghan army and also
providing money. They promised a billion dollars, a billion Euros, a long time ago and they have
only provided 10 per cent of that.

LISA MILLAR: America's allies can expect even more arm twisting, with the latest prediction that it
could be a decade before it's safe to leave Afghanistan.

This is Lisa Millar in Washington for The World Today.